SOURCE: Colorado Tourism Office

Colorado Tourism Office

March 18, 2015 15:39 ET

Experience Colorado's Cowboy Heritage and Western Ways

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Mar 18, 2015) - Colorado is steeped in the legacy of the Wild West -- a rugged and romantic history of grand adventure, exploration and settlement. Today, the state's western heritage is engrained in elements of daily life from modern cuisine to adventure excursions, colorful historical characters, ranching, rodeos and craftsmen. Whether in the saddle or with boots on the ground, unplug, explore and experience a bit of Colorado's heritage and western ways.

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Dude and Guest Ranches
Across the state more than 30 dude and guest ranches offer the grit and adventure of the old west mingled with modern charm and comfort. If your vacation time is limited, several ranches offer "dude ranch lite" stays of 3 to 5 days.

Cowboy Craftsmen
The rugged ways of the old west resulted in some crafty trades and traditions: try blacksmithing at The Fort in Morrison, leather working at Smith Fork Ranch, or taste chuck wagon and Dutch oven cooking at Doc Jones' Cookoff. Admire a leather-craft from world-renowned saddlemaker, Rusty May. Learn to paint or master your technique in a horse painting class at Zapata Ranch.

Museums: History, Horses and Heroes
Visit historic schoolhouses and rail yards at the Gunnison Pioneer Museum and the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum, originally a blacksmith shop. Outside La Junta, visit Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, a reconstructed 1840s adobe fur trading post on the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail. In Denver, visit History Colorado Center to experience early life in Colorado.

Boots, Spurs and a Hat
Colorado-Western casual attire carries on its roots with long-time retailers across the state. Discover cowboy hats constructed on vintage equipment using centuries-old, hands-on craftsmanship techniques with Master Hatter Nate Funmaker at Nathaniel's in Mancos.

Outfitters and Trail rides
If your love of horses involves multi-day excursions in the backcountry, experience Colorado on horseback like the early explorers. Colorado Outfitters Association members' many years of experience will enhance the safety and enjoyment of your outdoor experience.

Rodeos, Fairs, and The Stock Show
Colorado's Western spirit is reincarnated at rodeos across the state. From the National Western Stock Show to the Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo to State Fair in Pueblo and every rural county fair in between tradition transpires through activities like bull riding, steer wrestling and livestock competitions. Many, like the Steamboat Pro Rodeo or Gunnison's Cattleman's Days, are more than 100 years old.

Work, Sit, Stay
Hard working ranch dogs are a cowboy's loyal companions. Attend the National Cattledog Finals in Steamboat or the Meeker Championship Sheepdog Trials and witness the skills of some of the top cattle and sheep dogs hard at work moving and protecting ranch animals.

Festivals and Events
Coloradans love an excuse to celebrate, especially if it means flashing back to the Old West. Enjoy chuck wagon dinners at the Bar D Wrangler Chuckwagon, tunes and tales at Cowboy Poetry Festivals across the state, the Wild Wild West Festival in Pueblo, Buffalo Bill Days in Golden, or gunshots, saloon girls and ragtime music at the Diamond Belle Saloon in Durango

In the Movies
Rugged terrain, steam locomotives, and dramatic scenery were just some of the things that drew film makers to the Centennial State to shoot Westerns like: "City Slickers" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". The Rochester Hotel in Durango pays tribute to the movies filmed in Southwestern Colorado with an extensive collection of original movie marquee signs and rooms inspired by movies shot in the area.

A visit to Colorado isn't complete without experiencing the Old West; the history is so intertwined with the present in Colorado that a visit to the past is a seamless addition to modern-day travel.

ABOUT COLORADO
Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreation, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and renowned ski resorts. Breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, headwaters of seven major rivers, peaceful lakes, 11 national parks/monuments, and 58 mountains that top 14,000 feet. www.COLORADO.com. Colorado Media Room.

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